THE NO. 32 DOLLAR GENERAL TEAM'S SPRINT CUP SERIES DEBUT CUT SHORT IN MONDAY'S SAMSUNG MOBILE 500 Sorenson finishes 39th at Texas Motor Speedway FORT WORTH, Texas (April 20, 2010) -- Braun Racing and Dollar General made their NASCAR Sprint Cup...
THE NO. 32 DOLLAR GENERAL TEAM'S SPRINT CUP SERIES DEBUT CUT SHORT IN MONDAY'S SAMSUNG MOBILE 500
Sorenson finishes 39th at Texas Motor Speedway
FORT WORTH, Texas (April 20, 2010) -- Braun Racing and Dollar General made their NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. Reed Sorenson qualified for Sunday's Samsung Mobile 500 based on his speed during Friday's time trials. Persistent rain prevented the team from practicing on Saturday and eventually forced postponement of Sunday's event until Monday morning. Starting from the 43rd spot, the Dollar General team worked to make adjustments on each stop, continually improving the handling of the No. 32 Toyota and anticipating a solid result in their debut event. Unfortunately, the day was cut short by an electrical issue, relegating Sorenson and the team to the 39th-place finish.
Monday morning the Dollar General team lined up to start their first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. Because rain had cancelled both of Saturday's practice sessions, NASCAR called for a competition caution on lap 25. Starting from the 43rd position, Sorenson quickly moved the No. 32 Toyota forward, taking over the 32nd spot by lap nine. He reported to crew chief, Trent Owens, that he was experiencing a vibration and that the water temperature was rising drastically. He maintained the 32nd position and in the final laps leading up to the scheduled caution, worked to duck the nose of the car into clean air in an effort to cool it down. When the yellow flag was displayed, he and Owens discussed the car's handling.
"The car feels pretty good overall," reported Sorenson. "We're hitting the ground a little over some of the bumps. You might want to have the cool down unit ready when we come in. We were running pretty hot during the whole run but it's starting to come down now. There was a lot of grass on the frontstretch, so that might be causing the temperature to go up."
"10-4," replied Owens. "At least with the temperatures dropping, we know there's still water in the car."
Sorenson brought the No. 32 Toyota to pit road on lap 30 for the first pit stop of the morning. The Dollar General team changed four tires, removed tape from the grill, added fuel and put shims in the left front shock in an effort to reduce the travel on the front end of the car. Following the pit stop, Owens confirmed to his driver that large amounts of grass had been packed into the grill of the car. The No. 32 was in the 36th position when green-flag racing resumed on lap 33.
Shortly after the restart, Sorenson reported that the car's handling had greatly changed. "We have no front grip now," he said. "We are free on exit and tight on entry. Also, the car needs to turn better in the center."
"Ok, we'll get you the help you need on the next stop," Owens reassured him. "Just hang on. You're better than those cars in front of you."
As the long green-flag run continued, Sorenson reported on lap 73 that the car's handling in the rear was improving but that the front grip was still gone. A spinning car brought out the yellow flag on lap 77, giving the team the opportunity to make adjustments during the next pit stop. The Dollar General Toyota was in the 33rd position and one lap down to the leader.
"It's turning good on exit now," said Sorenson. "It just has that numb feeling on entry. It feels a little like it did during Friday's practice."
On lap 80, Owens called him to pit road for service. The Dollar General crew quickly changed four tires, made an air pressure adjustment, added tape to the grill and packed the Camry with fuel before returning him to the track. Sorenson restarted from the 33rd spot on lap 84.
Sorenson immediately went to work and moved up to the 31st position. "It's a little better but we're still a little tight in and loose off," he told Owens on lap 86. Ten laps later he informed the team that the loose-off condition was worsening.
The caution flag flew again on lap 100, with the No. 32 car in the 32nd spot. Sorenson brought the Dollar General Toyota to pit road for adjustments. Owens called for a four-tire stop, with air pressure adjustments, additional tape on the grill and shims in the left front shock to help with the handling. While in the pit stall, the crew also repaired some minor damage to the car's side skirt. When the race resumed on lap 105, the No. 32 lined up in the 34th spot.
The next run was cut short as the No. 77 car spun off of turn four on lap 112. Sorenson reported to the team that the car was turning really good on the short run, but grew loose on the long run. He added that he felt like the tape on the grill was helping the car's handling a lot.
On lap 114, Sorenson brought the Dollar General Toyota to pit road again for fresh tires and adjustments. The No. 32 crew quickly changed four tires, made track bar and air pressure adjustments, put a spring rubber into the right rear and added tape to the grill. Sorenson returned to the track in the 31st position. Being the first car one lap down to the leaders, the No. 32 was awarded the "Lucky Dog" award and was placed back on the lead lap for the restart on lap 117.
Owens was very happy with the progress made during the first half of the 334-lap race and was preparing his plan for subsequent runs and pit stops when Sorenson came over the radio with devastating news.
"We have a problem with the ignition," he said.
Owens immediately told his driver to switch ignition boxes. However, when Sorenson reported that there was smoke pouring into the car from under the dash and the tachometer was showing odd readings, he told him to bring the car to pit road. After a quick look, Owens told the team to move the car back to their garage stall.
After further investigation, Owens over the radio and told the team, "Let's call it a day. This isn't something we can fix here at the race track. Let's get focused on the Nationwide race."
With their day coming to an early end, the No. 32 Dollar General team was relegated to a 39th-place finish in the Samsung Mobile 500.
"This Dollar General team did a great job today," said Sorenson. "We came into this morning knowing that we had no practice in race trim and no previous notes to go by. We just worked pit stop by pit stop on adjusting the handling. Each time it improved and we learned a lot. This was a big day for Dollar General, making their first Cup race as a primary sponsor. I was glad I could be a part of it and am looking forward to more races with them. We will get better and better, I have no doubt, and I am excited to be working with this team."
-source: braun racing